Victims of Crime Advice, Help and Support
Victims of Crime
The following sets out what you can expect from the Criminal Justice System as a victim of crime. It contains information about organisations that you can contact for free advice, practical information or emotional support.
Reporting your crime
Thank you for reporting the incident to the police. The decision to contact the police can be stressful and you might be worried or concerned about its implications. If you would like advice or support, there are many people who can help.
Support for victims of crime
As a victim of crime, the police will pass your information to Victim Support. If you have been a victim, you may need practical help and information. Victim Support is a national, independent charity whose trained volunteers and staff can help you. Their services are free, confidential and available to everyone, regardless of when the event happened. You might find it helpful to talk to one of their staff if you found the experience distressing. If you need more specialised advice or support, they will also be able to refer you to a more suitable organisation. To find out more, visit www.victimsupport.org.uk or call 0845 30 30 900.
You can sign up to My Support Space to access a range of tools to help you cope and move forwards after crime.
For medical and specialist support
Going to court as a witness
His Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is responsible for running all of the Courts. To find out more visit: www.direct.gov.uk/en/crimejusticeandthelaw/victimsofcrime
There is a 'Going to Court - A Step by Step Guide to Being a Witness' DVD which explains what happens at court. Copies can be obtained from the Witness Care Unit (see below) or viewed online at www.direct.gov.uk/goingtocourtvideo
In addition HMCTS has a 'You are a Prosecution Witness' leaflet on services and facilities available at individual Crown and Magistrates Courts or viewed online here
The Witness Service, run by Citizens Advice, helps victims and witnesses attending court. They are trained staff and volunteers who you can talk to about what to expect before going to court during a pre-trial visit, and who are present to support you at court. Please note, the Citizens Advice Witness Service cannot discuss the case or the contents of your evidence with you. To find out more, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/witness
The joint police/CPS Witness Care Unit will provide you with a single point of contact after the point of charge about the progress of your case, including the date of hearing. They can also give you information on claiming expenses for attending court, including travel, pre-trial visits, allowances for meals, loss of wages and child care. To find out more, visit: https://www.cps.gov.uk/victims-witnesses
Victims who feel intimidated or vulnerable because, for example, they are young or disabled may require help providing evidence. In these cases, witnesses may be entitled to 'special measures' at court to assist them give their best evidence. Special measures are provided at the discretion of the Judge or Magistrate.
Special measures may include a live link to the court room, so the witness does not have to give evidence in the court room, the use of screens inside the court room so the witness cannot see the defendant when giving evidence, visually recorded evidence in chief, the removal of wigs and gowns, or video recorded cross-examination. Other measures are available to assist witnesses with communication difficulties to allow them to give their best evidence, such as the use of an intermediary who will explain the questions put to them and help the court understand their answers.
What are Special Measures and how can they help you give your evidence at court?
If you have been a victim of violent offence, you may be eligible for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). You can apply for compensation whether someone has been prosecuted for the offence or not. To find out more, visit: https://www.cica-criminal-injuries.co.uk or call CICA on 0800 358 3601.
Further victim support information
Domestic Abuse Help and Support
Accessing Safe Accommodation
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, there are a number of organisations that can provide advice and support on how to access safe accommodation.
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by a dedicated team of experts and can be reached on 0808 2000 247.
The Samaritans is also staffed every day, 24 hours a day, and can be contacted on: 116 123.
Alternatively, a range of other services including Social Services, GP's, pharmacies, and the Citizens Advice Bureau can provide further information and signpost support in your area.
Further information can be found at: www.gov.uk/report-domestic-abuse.
Most domestic abuse support sites have quick exit options for those with limited time. If you are in immediate danger you should contact the police on 999.
Supporting Victims - West Yorkshire Combined Authority (Policing and Crime) website
Supporting Victims information on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (Policing and Crime) website : https://www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/policing-and-crime/support-for-victims/
Operation Soteria Bluestone
West Yorkshire Police has also become an adopter force for Operation Soteria Bluestone, where we will introduce a new operating model for managing and investigating rapes and other sexual offences to get better outcomes for victims.
Police Experience Survey
Operation Bluestone Soteria is inviting victim-survivors of rape and sexual assault to take part in a survey about your experience with the police. The online survey is completely anonymous. Find out more about the survey here.
Working together with the police to investigate your crime
To help the police investigate your crime, you must inform them of the following:
- If you remember something not already included in your current statement.
- If your contact details change.
- If the crime involved any type of hostility, for example if you were targeted because of your race, sexuality, religion, disability or gender identity, or perceived race, sexuality, religion, disability or gender identity.
- If you have any specific needs, for example, mobility, communication or religious requirements.
In some cases if someone is arrested and charged, The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will decide whether to prosecute or not and whether to take your case to court. To find out more about the CPS, visit: http://www.cps.gov.uk or call 0203 357 0000
Protection against harassment or intimidation
If you are harassed or threatened in any way during an investigation or a trail, you should contact the police immediatly. If the offender is remained in custody, released on bail or convicted, the criminal court can make a restraining order. Victims and witnesses are also protected against witness intimidation for up to a year after the conclusion of a trial.
Conviction, sentence and parole
When someone is convicted of an offence and sent to prison, they pass into the care of the Prison Service.
If the offender in your case was under 18, you may be contacted by the Youth Offender Team (YOT) to see if you want to be involved in a restorative justice intervention.
If the offender in your case was convicted of a sexual or violent offence and sentenced to a year or more in prison, including offenders being treated by mental health service, the Probation Service will keep you informed about the key points in offender's sentence. To find out more, visit www.direct.gov.uk/en/CrimeJusticeAndTheLaw/PrisonAndProbation/DG_181731
In some cases, the Parole Board decide when offenders can safely be released from prison into the community. To find out more, visit http://www.paroleboard.gov.uk
Your rights and the service you should expect
As a victim you receive support and services under the Code of Practise for Victims of Crime (The Victims' Code). The Victims’ Code sets out the services you can expect from the criminal justice agencies. You can also make a complaint under the Victims Code if you are unhappy with the service you receive. You can obtain a copy of the Victims' Code here (PDF).
Victim Personal Statement - The Victim Personal Statement (VPS) provides an opportunity for victims to have a voice in the criminal justice process. It enables you to tell the court or the Parole Board how the offence has affected you or your family. You can make it at any time throughout court proceedings.
Visit: Victim Personal Statement - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) for more information.
Impact Statement for Business - The Impact Statement for Business (ISB) is your opportunity to tell the court about the impact a crime has had on your business. Where it considers appropriate, the court can take account of the ISB when it decides what sentence to impose on the offender(s).
Visit: Impact Statements for Business - guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) for more information.
You can find more detailed information about support and services for victims and witnesses at http://www.direct.gov.uk
Page last reviewed January 2024